Jersey's Environment Minister shares medical cannabis concern

A recent audit into the prescription of medical cannabis shows several patients received prescriptions that do not fall in line with NICE or NHS recommendations.

A number of islanders receive multiple prescriptions from two or more prescribers in the same month.

Some of these prescriptions for cannabis are for amounts that 'could reasonably be assumed' to be for more than a month's supply of the legal substance.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS guidelines say the drug should only be prescribed to people who:

  • Chronic pain;
  • Intractable nausea and vomiting;
  • Spasticity;
  • Severe treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Health Minister Tom Binet published the audit's findings, which used monthly returns from pharmacists during 2022 and the first half of 2023.

It was done to see how many prescriptions were given out to islanders, understand how many patients there are in the island, compare data with England, and see how many prescriptions each patient receives.

In response to the findings, Environment Minister Steve Luce says the differences in the levels of prescribing of medicinal cannabis that is taking place in Jersey when compared with England are significant.

Just under 6.1% of the Jersey working-age population is prescribed medical cannabis, this compares to just 0.05% in the UK, which is almost 14 times higher.

The Minister, who is responsible for health and social care regulatory policy, said: "The audit also suggests that some people are receiving multiple prescriptions at levels which may be harmful to their health, this is of significant concern.

"I am, therefore, committed to developing the legislation necessary to regulate and inspect cannabis clinics in Jersey."

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